I-10 Could Be Home For New William Carey Campus

A small art class is the only sign of life at William Carey College in Gulfport. The art studios, housed in the Quonset huts, survived Katrina.

"Paintings were on the easels. They weren't damaged. It's like there was no hurricane inside," said Dr. Arthur Williams, who chairs the college's Art Department.

The rest of the campus defininitely felt the brunt of the storm. The hurricane wiped-out four buildings and severely damaged classrooms, apartments, and the administration building - which just underwent a $700,000 restoration.

"The building's in bad shape. It's uninhabitable, and it's going to have to be torn down," said Jerry Bracey.

Campus Dean Jerry Bracey says the college will rebuild, but not on the beach front.

"For this property, it's for sale. Future plans for the campus are to relocate the campus within the Gulfport city limits on the I-10 corridor," Bracey said.

Bracey says college leaders need at least 75-acres for the new school, tripling the size of the current location.

"We've outgrown this property. Even before the storm, we knew that we needed more office space, more academic classroom space, and more space for academic needs," Bracey said.

For now, William Carey students will remain scattered. Day classes are held at the First Missionary Baptist Church on Pass Road and the night classes are taking place at Gulfport High. One day, the students and instructors will be together on a brand, new campus.

"I think that would be great. It would be fantastic to have newly-designed facilities," said Dr. Williams.

"I believe it's going to be a safer environment. It'll be an environment where we can continue to grow, and better serve our community," Bracey said.

William Carey wants to bring all the students back to the Gulfport campus until a new school is built. The college is in the process of leasing portable classrooms. They should be installed on the soccer field in a few months.